Solomon's Evaluation of the Home
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Proverbs, chapter 10. We gave you a survey of the entire book, suggesting to you its natural divisions. Having completed the study of the first division in our last lesson, we began a study of the second division of the book of Proverbs, which is called The Proverbs of Solomon . You might wonder why we suggest this to you in light of the fact that most people assume that Solomon wrote all of the Proverbs. When we presented the survey to you, we saw the fallacy of that; but there is another reason we refer to these as the Proverbs of Solomon , and that is that the 375 proverbs which you are going to find in this particular section are personal proverbs of Solomon. Solomon delivered these proverbs to individuals on an individual basis, and then the Spirit of God saw to it that they were recorded and put together for our understanding and our meditation.

We suggested to you that the truths presented in this particular section are presented in individual proverbs which are not related one to the other, but they are presented in two sections in this particular portion of the Word.

The first section includes chapters 10-15; the second section includes chapter 16 through chapter 22, verse 16. These divisions are natural divisions because in this first section you find the proverbs presented in contrasting statements, and then in the second division, you will find the truths presented in corresponding statements.We gave you illustrations of that so that you would know what we are talking about.

Because the proverbs are presented individually, complete within themselves without any relationship to the proverb immediately before or immediately after, people who want to study the proverbs find the need of putting together the proverbs in relation to catchphrases, or specific words, or on the matter of principle.

We suggested to you that we were going to study these proverbs on the basis of principles—all of the proverbs related to a certain principle, thus getting the gist of what Solomon had in mind about that particular principle.

Atmosphere in the Home

In this lesson, we are going to study together what Solomon had to say concerning the home. I am sure that if I were to ask you what you think one of the most important things about the home might be, a number of answers would be forthcoming. I have done this sort of thing with other groups of people, and I have discovered that more people mention the atmosphere of the home as being important than any other one thing. It is probably a wise choice because Solomon felt that the atmosphere of the home was tremendously important if the home was to be all that it ought to be.

He was not talking about what kind of house in which people might live, the street where they might live, the neighborhood where they might live. He was talking about the atmosphere of the home, regardless of the kind of physical attributes it might have. Solomon said that in every home there are two basic needs.

Love in the Home

One of them is the need for love. Turn with me to chapter 15 of the book of Proverbs, keeping in mind we are going to be skipping about through this entire section, putting the proverbs together which deal with the principle we are thinking about in this study. Notice verse 17:

Proverbs 15:

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

So that you do not miss the point, let me remind you that this word stalled comes from the Hebrew word abac , which may be translated “fatted,” so you might read:

Proverbs 15:

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf and hatred therewith.

You see the point that the Spirit of God is bringing to our attention, don't you? It isn't material accruements that make for a happy home. It isn't all of the things that we feel are so very, very important for the welfare of our home that makes it a happy home. The need for love is basic, and a home where love is supreme, though many other things are missing, is a home that has a good chance for success.

Peace in the Home

The other basic need that the wise man would bring to our attention is the need for peace. I would not be prepared at all to say which one of these needs is more basic. Perhaps both of them are of necessity. Turn, please, to chapter 21, and notice verse 9:

Proverbs 21:

9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Then notice down in verse 19:

Proverbs 21:

19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

That is the reason some husbands play more golf than some of you wives would like for them to play. It is simpler to do that than it is to dwell with a brawling woman in a big house because the house just isn't big enough to get away from you. That is the reason some men go on more hunting trips than you wives wish they would go on. It is not the only reason, but it is one of the reasons. It is better to dwell out in the woods acting like you are shooting deer than it is to stay home with an angry and contentious woman.

That is what God said, but there is something that concerns me about verse 9. It is one thing for a husband and wife to be constantly at each other's throats—that's bad enough—but the effect it has on the entire family is a sad, sad thing indeed. An alternate translation for this particular verse is: “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetops than to have a nagging wife and a brawling household.”

I say that it is bad enough if the wife did the nagging and the disagreements were between the husband and the wife, but it has a way of affecting the whole household. Our King James text refers only to a brawling wife. The original text permits the wider application—the brawling household. When the father and mother are constantly at each other's throats, there is no real peace within the household itself. The atmosphere in the home is tremendously important. There is a need for love and there is a need for peace.

I suggest to you that if you do not need what I am saying, don't tune me out. You make careful note of it and use it for a means of ministry to multitudes of people with whom you will come in contact who have the problems which are suggested in this portion of the Word.

Effect and Influence of Father Upon the Home

As we continue thinking about the matter of the home as the basic principle around which these proverbs revolve, we would call to your attention what is said about the father and the husband of the home. It is an interesting thing that most of the emphasis in the proverbs along this line is placed upon the relationship that the father has to his children—the effect and the influence he can have upon them. Notice, please, chapter 17 of the book of Proverbs, verse 6:

Proverbs 17:

6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

For the moment we will table the first part of that verse that is talking about us granddaddies: “Children's children are the crown of old men…” We will pass over it except to say that I am enjoying wearing the crown, and I have never found very many grandfathers who didn't enjoy wearing the crown. “Children's children are the crown of old men.” But this is the point that we want you to notice: “…the glory of children are their fathers.” Turn with me to chapter 20, and notice verse 7:

Proverbs 20:

7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him

This verse adds to what we have already noticed. I like the paraphrased translation where we read, concerning the provision that every father ought to make for his child: “It is a wonderful heritage to have an honest father.” We could spend quite a bit of time about what fathers might leave their children—the amount of property, investments and etc.; but I want to say to you that the wisest man who ever lived, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that the greatest heritage that could be left to children is the heritage of knowing that they had an honest, sincere, upright, Christian father. It is a wonderful heritage indeed.

There is something else that is brought to our minds, and I would like for you to turn to chapter 13 and notice in verse 22 what might be a climaxing suggestion to what we have just said. Notice:

Proverbs 13:

22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Here comes grandfather again, but notice the first part of the verse again:

Proverbs 13:

22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

It is very interesting to me that one translation has it, “A good man leaveth an inheritance of moral responsibility to his children's children.” You know, that is something that you can't spend. I think all of you are aware, with the general idea that men hold, that the father makes the fortune, the son sometimes adds to it and multiplies it, and the grandchildren waste it. But you can't waste this kind—a heritage of moral responsibility.

The Danger of Provocation

What we have said to you concerning the father and husband in relation to his children is all along a positive note, but I would like to call to your attention something else. For the sake of alliteration, we will use the word provocation because Solomon recognized that fathers did not only have the privilege of providing for their children and leaving them a godly heritage, they had to face the danger of provoking their children to the extent that sad things could certainly occur. Notice chapter 11, verse 29:

Proverbs 11:

29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

We are primarily interested in the first part of the verse: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind…” That doesn't mean a great deal to you, does it, so I am going to suggest a translation from the Paraphrased version, which says: “The fool who provokes his family to resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.”

My, that speaks volumes, doesn't it? “The father who provokes his family to resentment…” It is a sad thing when families would just as soon not think of their fathers, would just as soon not have them come around because of the manner in which he has lived. He has provoked his family to resentment. I have counseled with men numerous times whom I am going to describe as lonely, old men because they had provoked their family to resentment. They weren't welcome in the homes of their children, and though they might have had large families in some instances, they were lonely, old men with no place to go and nobody to talk to because of this thing of provocation—having their own way, deciding they were going to have things their own way, no matter what, riding roughshod over the lives of their children as though they were so many robots until they were thoroughly resented, and almost hated.

A Good Wife and Mother is the Gift of God

We must hurry on and suggest to you in relation to the home that we notice the proverbs that deal with the wife and mother. It is an interesting thing that the proverbs related to the wife and mother have more to do with the wife's relationship to the husband than it does with the mother's relationship to her children. Oh, yes, the relationship of the mother to the children is mentioned, but I say, the preponderance of emphasis is placed upon the relationship of the wife and her husband. Yet, it is related to the home, so we recognize that you have to have a good wife and mother if the home is going to be what it ought to be.

The first thing that comes to my attention in the proverbs that are related to the home along this line is the recognition that a good wife—the kind of wife I am talking about—is the gift of God. Turn, please, to chapter 18, and notice verse 22. Young men, if you are looking for a good wife, don't go to the nearest place of social activity. Don't join a singles club (not that I have any argument one way or the other), but ask God about it. Notice verse 22:

Proverbs 18:

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

Men, if you have a good wife, God has blessed you. That is what this is saying. You may be silly enough to think that you have been some Don Juan and they couldn't resist you; you have always been a woman slayer, and on and on with ridiculous, idiotic statements you might make; but let me tell you, if you have a good wife, it is because God has smiled upon you.

For further emphasis, notice chapter 19, verse 14, where we read:

Proverbs 19:

14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

If you look at that in another translation, it emphasizes it even more: “A father can give his sons homes and riches, but only the Lord can give them understanding wives.” This was written in a day when the parents made the contracts for the wives. Many fathers were able to give their sons homes and riches, and they might do a lot of bargaining to be sure that their sons had the right kind of wives, but they didn't always succeed. We don't do that sort of thing today, but if you are a godly father, if you are a godly mother, if you realize the value of things, you know the most precious gift you could give to your son is not a wedding gift in money, but a godly woman, an understanding and a prudent wife.

Of course, you can't do it, so there is only one other thing you can do, and that is to stay on your face before the Lord, asking God to bring into the life of your son the kind of girl who would make for him an understanding and a prudent wife because, even though the emphasis is placed upon the relationship between husband and wife, as I suggested to you, she is the key to the home.

Wives as Homebuilders

In this section of the book of Proverbs she is presented in a twofold way. She is presented as a homebuilder. Sometimes people ask women what their occupations are and they say, “Homemakers.” I like this term homebuilder because it is a scriptural one, and that is what they really are. They are individuals who are given the ability, by the grace of God, to make a home for those whom they love.

Notice in chapter 14, verse 1:

Proverbs 14:

1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

In this verse is presented the homemaker, and the home wrecker, at which we will be looking in a moment. What about this homebuilder? She buildeth her house. I am wondering exactly how she builds this house, what she uses to build this house. Perhaps we will understand if we look at this verse in another translation which reads: “A wise women builds her house while a foolish woman tears it down by her own efforts.”

Notice the last statement: “…her own efforts.” Where are you putting your efforts, wife, mother? Are you using all the effort you have in building or in tearing down? You might ask a very sensible question: “I would like to use all of my effort in building my house, but how do I go about building a good house?”

Do you remember earlier in our discussion in the book of Proverbs, chapter 9, we read about a woman who built her house and used seven pillars with which to build it? We made a little journey through the Bible to find out what those seven pillars were. We don't have time to go over that journey, but we want to summarize for you what we found.

The Pillar of Gentle Wisdom

In James, chapter 3, we found those seven pillars described as a wisdom and an understanding that was characterized by these seven things. Mother, if you want to build a home where your husband will want to stay instead of going out to the wilderness, if you want to build a home in which your children will want to bring their friends, then see to it that you exercise a wisdom that is peaceable, that seeks peace at any cost. Now, wait a minute! I didn't say, “seeks peace at any sacrifice.” You don't sacrifice principles, but seek peace at any cost, a wisdom that is gentle, a wisdom that is easy to be entreated.

No, this doesn't mean that your kids can talk you into anything, but it does mean that you are always accessible. You know, a lot of mothers are not. Many, many mothers miss the opportunity of being a blessing to their children by saying to their children, “Now, run along. Mother will talk to you later about that.” Mothers, you listen to me. I don't care what you're doing. I don't care how important it is to you, if that little tyke comes up and pulls on your skirt to attract your attention, for God's sake, stop and find out what that little tyke wants. He may not want anything much, but do you know what you are doing? You are developing in him the realization that you are always accessible because there may come a time when he longs to talk to you, and he would long, literally speaking, to pull at your skirt to attract your attention, but he turns away and says, “Oh, what is the use? She won't have time to listen, anyway.” I don't want to belabor the point, but I hope you will think about it.

A Pillar Full of Mercy

Another pillar to use is a pillar full of mercy. Some of us parents are not very merciful. We leave with our children the idea that we have never done anything wrong and that we never will do anything wrong, and we can't understand why they do. Learn to be full of mercy, full of good fruits. The most critical audience before which you will ever perform, Mother, is the audience made up of your children. They will catch everything that isn't right, so be full of good fruits.

Be impartial. If you have only one child, how can you be partial? Some of you already know that if you have one child and one husband, you still have to watch this business of partiality because they are both bidding for your attention, and it is pretty easy to be partial one way or the other.

Of course, the other thing is without hypocrisy and it needs no comment at all. I would say to you that if you want to be a homebuilder, using every effort you have to build your home, you need to develop the kind of wisdom we have just described and build your home out of these seven pillars to which we have made reference. Then you will have a home that will honor God and of which your children will be proud.

Ways of the Homewrecker

You will keep in mind that we suggested to you the verse at which we originally looked spoke not only of the homemaker, but it spoke of the homewrecker. Somebody says, “Yes, I know all about her, that slut. I know when she first looked at my husband. She wrecked my home.”

No, I am not talking about her. There are some of them running loose who seem to delight in wrecking homes. We have to face that, but I am not talking about that slut that almost wrecked your home because she almost seduced your husband. I am not talking about that. I am talking about you, Mother, you, wife. Whether you realize it or not, you are wrecking your home by your own efforts, and there are three ways that you may do that.

One of them is by tearing down your husband. The quickest way you can wreck your home is to tear down your husband, for when you have him torn down to the right level, your children will walk roughshod over him without any respect whatsoever. Look at chapter 12, verse 4:

Proverbs 12:

4 A virtuous [virtuous here means “capable;” it is not referring to whether she is faithful or not] woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Here again, I think another translation would be helpful so that you might read: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but the other kind corrodes his strength and tears down everything that he does.”

Maybe you have never known any women like that, but I have. I have counseled through the years with husbands and wives whose basic problem lay right here. The wife, whether she knew it or not, was a homewrecker. She was tearing down everything her husband did and was corroding his strength in the sense that she robbed him of any desire to do anything worthwhile toward the upbuilding of a home.

There is a third way in which a mother can be a homewrecker, and that is by driving her children away. Look at chapter 19, and notice verse 13, where we read:

Proverbs 19:

13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

You may think that I have made a mistake about the verse. I haven't. It is an interesting thing to me that God would bring to our attention in the same verse this foolish son and a contentious wife. The foolish son we have met before. He is the boy who never does what his parents want him to do. He is the boy who goes away from home before he needs to and before he should. He is the boy who is always rebellious. Isn't it an interesting thing that this foolish son is related to the contentions of a wife which are a continual dropping? I believe the Holy Spirit has put the two together to remind homemakers that they can become homewreckers by constantly nagging their husbands until there is no peace and tranquillity in the home. They drive their children away from home by the very act of constantly nagging and being contentious. You will notice that it is constant. It is like a continual dripping.

Thank the Lord—I mean this with all of my heart—I have never been bothered by a nagging wife, but I have had experience with continual dripping. I thank God that I do not have a nagging wife, if a nagging wife is like continual dripping.

We have an air conditioner right outside our bedroom window, and when we know it is going to rain, we put a quilt over the top of it because the way that our house is built, the water that comes from the second story drips and hits that metal air conditioner. Somebody told me that it started to rain at two o'clock the other night. I said, “You are just as wrong as you can be. It rained exactly at midnight.” They said, “How do you know?” I said, “That continual dripping—drip, drip, drip. It started at midnight and it continued all night long. My wife and I talked nearly all night long. We didn't sleep.”

There is nothing as distracting as a continual dripping. I don't think the Holy Spirit could have chosen a better illustration of what a nagging wife is, and if some of you women want to know what you sound like by continually nagging your husband, the next time my wife and I are gone, come out and spend the night in our bedroom, and I will have someone up on the second story just pouring water down on that air conditioner all night. Then you will have an idea.

The third thing a wife does when she wrecks her home is to fail to practice discretion. Look at chapter 11, verse 22, a comparison which is not particularly flattering to our good women, but it is in the Word of God, so we will draw it to your attention. Notice:

Proverbs 11:

22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

We live out from town, and the only four-legged animal we have is a horse, but our neighbors have lovely children who have a sample of nearly everything that it is possible to have. They have got a lamb and a goat and a pig. You just name it, and they have it. For some reason these animals love this little area where our bedroom is, and they are always there in the morning, greeting us whether we are ready to be greeted or not. Now, the lamb and the goat are cute, but somehow or other I can't find any attraction for the pig. I don't see anything attractive about it at all, and as I read this verse the other day, that pig came running through our driveway. The man next door came after it with a broom. The pig decided to take up residence on our porch, so he sat there on our porch, oinking his way along, wrinkling that snout worse than I wrinkle my nose. I got to thinking, “Wouldn't a ruby look ridiculous in that snout.” A ruby, I think, is the most beautiful of gems. I love them. Wouldn't a ruby look ridiculous in that swine's snout? Then I thought about this verse. That is just how ridiculous a wife is who is without discretion.

This word discretion involves more things than I can talk about at this time. It involves immodesty; it involves telling things that happen in your bedroom, which your husband expects you to keep a secret. It involves affairs related to your husband's business which he tells you because he has to unload on someone. If you unload it on somebody else, before long it becomes the talk of the neighborhood. The next time you are tempted to act without discretion, women, think about that pig that takes his residence up on our front porch, and imagine what he would look like with a ruby in his snout, and know that that is just how silly you are when you do some of the things that you do.

Conclusion

I am going to stop because our time is gone. I was going to talk to you about disciplining children, as it is in this section. Maybe we can get to it another time. I was going to talk to you about the honor you children owe to your parents and what God has to say about the importance of it. We would remind you that if God has placed you in a home, He has placed you with a real responsibility, and I hope you will make an effort to discharge it.


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